“Taking crazy things seriously is a serious waste of time.” – Haruki Murakami
It is my belief that most everyone likes to think they are special in some way. People buy a certain new car so they can be the first on their block to have one; they climb mountains, or go SCUBA diving, compete in ridiculously difficult events–like running a marathon isn’t enough, I know, let’s tack on swimming and bicycling until you *******
Fuck the fucking terrorists!
I am absolutely seething right now…
That line that ends in a bunch of asterisks..? That was going to be, “… bicycling until you explode,” which, two months ago, would have been fine, even humorous. But now there’s the Boston Marathon tragedy to consider, and performing athletically until you explode has taken on a whole different context and meaning.
I am a writer. Words are my stock in trade. I have spent a lifetime filling my shelves with words and phrases that I may put together in what I hope are interesting and attractive ways so you, as a potential user of my product, will feel a sense of satisfaction at having used your time well after perusing the fruits of my labors (I don’t actually just throw this shit together; it only seems that way – I’m that good).
As someone who also tries, occasionally, to be a decent human being, there are lines I dance across gleefully, just to evince some reaction, but there are other lines I will not cross. I will never be intentionally hurtful to anyone who has never done anything to me. I will try to avoid being ugly to anyone who has “wronged” me unintentionally, which is to say, they will only get poked in the eye, as opposed to punched in the throat.
“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” – Robert H. Schuller
In all honesty, I like to think of myself as being fairly tough (not strong, mind you, tough). Total bullshit, of course, but I want to be “The Most Interesting Man in the World”, so I think of myself as tough. There are, it turns out, a few things that tend to feed into my delusion.
Take, for example, the time I went horseback riding and I, for various reasons that would make this story needlessly longer, ended up “dismounting” from my buddy, Scout, while we were at a full, oh-my-god-the-deer-are-going-to-eat-my-spine gallop, down a dirt road. Now, when one dismounts from a horse properly, one typically ends up facing the rear of the horse, and I did dismount properly. Remember the part where we’re at a full gallop..? Oh yeah, and one foot always hits the ground first, typically the right foot. So it was I found myself on my back, with a sprained right ankle, sliding down a dirt road.
As an aside, I will now shrug off any amount of taunting from people who don’t realize the value of protective clothing. I still have the cloth helmet cover from that day, to remind me of what the back of my head would have looked like without that helmet. Oh, and it was an evening in Autumn, so I was wearing my leather, pilot’s jacket… don’t get me started…
Once I had decelerated to a complete stop, as is required by the laws of physics, I stood up, popped my knee back into place (did I mention my right knee was also dislocated?) and said to myself, “That’s going to hurt, tomorrow.”
At the time, adrenaline and my knee high, leather riding boots kept me from realizing my ankle had any significant damage, so I screamed at Scout (who was probably already at the barn by the time I hit the ground), then stormed the 200-300 yards through the woods, back to the barn. When I got there, it was nice to see people were already starting to ride out to find me, and someone had thoughtfully taken all the riding “stuff” off of Scout for me, and put him in his stall.
“When not if you fall off a horse, get right back on.” – everyone who ever gave any advice
There are at least two reasons why that is very good advice. The first, and most popular reason is, getting back on the horse immediately will keep you from the perils of festering fear. In other words, you won’t be sitting around for days convincing yourself of realizing how dangerous riding is; if you get right back on the horse, your fear is dissipated at once… unless you immediately fall off again, in which case, perhaps you should look into activities like jogging… on a treadmill.
The second reason for getting back on your horse immediately is much the same as the first reason, but from the horse’s point of view. Particularly if you have a “clever” horse (Scout was a frickin’ equine rocket scientist), you don’t want your horse to learn that it can bring a quick end to the day’s activities by tossing you to the ground, one way or another.
Also, Scout was being a little bitch when he took off the way he did, and… no… just, no…
So I got all his shit together, put it back on him, took him out to the, now dark, riding ring, and we “worked-out” for another 40 minutes time really flies when you’re insanely pissed-off. Behave like a little bitch with me? I think not.
“Were you playing tackle football, or something?” – the X-ray technician
There is at least one really, really good reason why “get right back on your horse again” might be really, really bad advice: you may have been injured in the fall…
It was about 9:00pm by the time I got home from my “pleasant evening of horseback riding”. When I tried to take off my tall boots, that scene from the beginning of Dances With Wolves came to mind; the scene wherein Lt. Dunbar tries to take his riding boot off his mangled leg? It was unpleasant.
So, after realizing the pain was going to keep me awake all night, I thought I should probably go to the emergency room. Since it was now late on a Friday evening, none of my friends were around, so I got myself back into my big ol’ pickup truck, and drove me to the ER – lefty style.
When I mentioned, earlier, that I had sprained my ankle, I was just surmising; it didn’t hurt that much at the time. But, by the time I had “taught Scout his lesson” about messing with me, and finally gotten to the ER, I had torn several and sundry tendons and ligaments… Showed him real good, didn’t I? He got a few “days off” out of the deal, but at least he didn’t know why…
“We need never be ashamed of our tears.” – Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
All that to say: I am not easily rattled; I do not cry over inconveniences. I cried quite a bit, when I had Scout put to sleep, and just now, at the top of this post, I was frustrated nearly to tears at the fact that the fucking terrorists are stripping us bare. When basic decency requires I use fewer and fewer of the words and phrases I have so diligently gathered over a lifetime, who wins?
“Any people that would give up liberty for a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin
Now, some cities are considering limiting special celebrations to one per month, for security reasons.
“A policeman’s work is only easy in a police state.” – Charlton Heston as Mike Vargas in, A Touch of Evil
This post was going to be something silly about the differences between being crazy and being eccentric…